“Sometimes she heard night-sounds she didn’t know or jumped from lightning too close, but whenever she stumbled, it was the land who caught her. Until at last, at some unclaimed moment, the heart-pain seeped away like water into sand. Still there, but deep. Kya laid her hand upon the breathing, wet earth, and the marsh became her mother.”-Delia Owens
My connection to the book:
I was a little girl who would squat in the dirt and giggle as worms squirmed up and over her toes. Now, I am the woman who will still plop down in the mud just to say hi to a worm, because why not? Reading Where the Crawdads Sing has been a great experience. I first heard about the book from my grandmother (Grammy) who just could not stop giving it absolutely glowing reviews. She kept saying, “Deanna you would love it! Please just read it, I didn’t want it to end.” Because I trust her book judgements, I gave it a try.
Wow was Grammy right. For about two weeks now I have been diligently reading about Kya’s journey every night before bed. Delia Owens’ writing is so vivid and immersive that when I close the book and my eyes every night, I cannot help but dream about Kya’s marsh: I feel the texture of the seashells she collects each day, I smell the salty air that drifts off the ocean’s waves, I hear the familiar seagull’s shriek. There is something so beautiful about reading about an independent strong young woman in a gorgeous natural landscape.
“lot of times love doesn’t work out. Yet even when it fails, it connects you to others and, in the end, that is all you have, the connections.”
Book Overview (Don’t worry, no spoilers)
Where the Crawdads Sing is a new novel written by Delia Owens and published in 2018. Kya Clark, the main character is a sparky determined young woman. A coming of age novel, the reader follows Kya, watching as her love for the North Carolina Marsh she grows up in flourishes from a childhood daydream to an adult livelihood. With limited schooling and a self-starter attitude, at a very young age Kya took on the job of raising herself. During this process, she discovers a love for words which spurs her to begin a long-awaited interest in academia and formal science.
Like any great coming of age story, Kya grows and wilts various connections she makes with those who enter her little world. These connections both break down and solidify years of emotional barriers. Nevertheless, this is no average coming of age story. Not only is there a strong independent woman but there is a sprinkling of murder mystery throughout the novel which gives the reading just a little extra spice.
Get excited to read an amazing book that highlights a badass woman, some badass science (including murderous insects), and a badass whodunit. I bid you welcome to Kya’s world.
“She could read anything now, he said, and once you can read anything you can learn everything. It was up to her.
Why is it important for women? (Minor-Large Spoilers)
The main character, Kya, is an extraordinary young woman. She is abandoned by both parents and all her siblings before she reaches her teenage years. They left her alone and as most would say, “helpless”. However, Kya found a way to find help; she looked to herself. From digging mussels from the mud at dawn to eventually publishing her own writing, Kya was self-sufficient at only 10 years old.
During Kya’s youngest years and into her early 20s, she receives help from a neighboring gas and general store owner, Jumpin’, and his wife, Mabel. Kya forms a unique and reliable relationship with them that mirrors that of parents and a child. Although she was able to find this wonderful help, Kya had pride. At only 10 years old, Kya dug mussels every morning to sell to Jumpin’ for the gas, clothing, and other supplies he traded to her. As an independent woman, she provided for herself.
Although Kya only attended one day of school her entire life, she is an extremely intelligent woman. Throughout her childhood and into adulthood, Kya developed a relationship with Tate a boy who was friends with her older brother. During Tate and Kya’s time together, Tate taught her how to read. He brought her textbooks and magazines from school. Biology and environmental studies were Tate’s favorite subjects so most of the textbooks were within those designations. Therefore, from diligently reading those texts, Kya developed a sixth sense for combining scientific marsh research and her painting abilities. From this skill she developed on her own, she built a tremendous collection rivaling any college educated environmentalists. A special person in her life recognizes her detailed and prestigious research and proposes she write and submit a book. After zero formal education, Kya became a professional scientific author.
This makes for a wonderful feminist novel because it shows that women can be independent and self-sufficient. Moreover, Owens is illustrating that a woman can establish extreme intelligence without the help of society, ultimately showing that a woman can survive and thrive without the patriarchy.
“Female fireflies draw in strange males with dishonest signals and eat them; mantis females devour their own mates. Female insects, Kya thought, know how to deal with their lovers.”
I have not yet finished Where the Crawdad’s Sing. I only have exactly 40 pages left. I’m not sure how I want it to end. What I do know is Grammy was right; I absolutely do not want this book to end. It is so beautiful reading both Delia Owens’ writing and a story about a young woman who is self-reliant and a survivor.
Well, I finished…..
There is a major plot twist at the end that blew me away (you have to read the book to find out what I am talking about).
When I bought this book, I was completely expecting a warm read that tugs at my heartstrings because it was recommended by my grandma. Yes, Where the Crawdads Sing is both of those things, but it is much more.
It tells the story of loneliness. Owens describes through Kya how deeply cut a person is from being abandoned by people. Nevertheless, she grows this idea by showing that Kya learns how to be comfortable in her solitary. Many women have trouble “being on their own” which can be interpreted many ways: being single from a romantic relationship, having a lack of friends…These things can be helpful and harmful to a woman. However, the most harmful is that society is consistently telling us that being alone is bad. They tell us that if we do not marry then we are “old maids”. In so many words, women who are “alone” are deemed unworthy and less womanly. Owens proves them wrong by building a character who grows in her loneliness and develops an appreciation for the dignity behind being alone.
Every woman should learn at some point in their life how to be comfortable being alone, for isn’t it the best way to get to know one’s self?
Please, take some time today to follow one of the links in this article and get your own copy of Where the Crawdads Sing or go to your local library. Visit Kya’s marsh and learn about the beauty of being alone and an independent woman.
“Loneliness has a compass of its own.”Delia Owens
Love to all.
This was originally written for my other blog: The FemiSphere